Enda was born on the 31st of December, 1910 to John and Margaret Davis of Ballina, Co. Mayo. Having completed his primary education at the local National School, he received his secondary education at St. Muredach’s College, Ballina from 1924 to 1929.
Records show that Enda was in Brooklyn U.S.A. for the period 1929 to 1931 after which he studied in St. Peter’s College, Wexford, for the period September, 1932 to January, 1936. He then pursued theological studies in Oscott College, Birmingham from January to May, 1936. In September of that year he entered Kiltegan where he was ordained in June 1939. Later that year, he went to Nigeria and ministered in Obudu and Ogoja. In 1942, he was appointed Chaplain to the West African forces until the end of the war. After this, he returned to Ogoja and became supervisor of schools from his headquarters in Abakaliki. He was also Pro Prefect, to Monsignor McGettrick. He became seriously ill and died in a Dublin hospital on the 25th of April, 1955. He is buried in Kiltegan.
Fr Seán (John Joseph) Deegan
Seán – full name John Joseph – was born in Ballyconnell, Ballinagore, Co. Westmeath on the 21st of March, 1923. Having received his early education at the local N.S. from 1928 to 1936, he proceeded to St. Finian’s College, Mullingar where he pursued his secondary studies from 1936 to 1942. In 1942, he entered Kiltegan and was ordained in 1949. Later that year he went to Nigeria and was appointed to Calabar Diocese. There he spent his whole missionary career, maintaining however a very low profile. Records show that he laboured in the missions of Ediene, Itak, Anua, Oti Oron, Ikot Edibon and finally Ndon Ebom, where he died on the 12th of March, 1983.
Evidence of the ‘low profile’ mentioned above is exemplified in the tribute paid at his funeral by the Chairman of Ndon Ebom Parish Council – “he did his ministry quietly to the end and faithfully completed his last work of ministry by going to an outstation Ekpene Ukim for confessions, although he was ill”. And in a homily at his month’s mind Mass Vin MacNamara described him as “one who exemplified modesty and hard work in his 34 years as a missionary”. He is buried at Ndon Ebom.
Fr Seamus Deignan
Seamus was born on the 11th of August, 1926 at Cartron, Granard, Co. Longford. Following his primary education at Killeen National School, he studied at St. Mel’s College, Longford, from 1941 to 1946, the year he began his Spiritual Year in Kiltegan. His was the last class to live in Humewood.
After ordination in 1953, he was appointed to the then Prefecture of Eldoret in Kenya and there he would minister for the forty years of his missionary life. His initial appointment was to Nerkwo parish where he worked until 1960. He then transferred to Kitale briefly, followed by a period in Kiminini and Tindinyo until 1969. In that year, Nandi District became part of Eldoret Diocese and Seamus spent a brief period there. Afterwards, he worked in St. Joseph’s, Kitale, ministering in the surrounding parishes until the parish of St. Joseph was established.
In 1993, ill-health forced him to return to Ireland and he went to the Diocese of Down and Connor, and worked in the parishes of Killyleagh and Hollywood. He retired early in 2003, first to Kiltegan and then to our house in Belfast. He died suddenly there on the 30th of January, 2004.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Liam de Veale
Liam de Veale was born to Thomas De Bhial and his wife Margaret (née Fitzgibbon) of Holycross, County Tipperary on the 14th of June, 1932. His parents were teachers and he was the fourth in a family of three boys and three girls. Irish was the spoken language in the home. He attended Holycross National School from 1937 to 1944 and received his secondary education at Thurles Christian Brothers School from 1944 to 1950. He came to Kiltegan in September 1950 for his Spiritual Year. He then went to the Society house in Cork and pursued a BA degree at University College Cork, graduating with a degree in classics in 1954. He returned to Kiltegan for his theological studies and was ordained on Easter Sunday, the 6th of April, 1958 in St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, by Bishop James Moynagh SPS, Bishop of Calabar, Nigeria.
After his ordination Liam was appointed to East Africa and ministered in what was then the Prefecture of Eldoret, Kenya. His first appointment was to Nerkwo with Fr Fintan McDonald. He was then sent to Ortum to study the Pokot language and worked with Fr Leo Staples. In 1960 he went to teach in Chewoyet Secondary School and while there helped out in Tartar parish. He taught at Mother of the Apostles Seminary when it was based at Matunda and also when it moved to Eldoret town. Being bilingual from childhood Liam had a keen interest in languages and became fluent in Swahili and in Pokot. He translated a book from Swahili to English entitled Watoto wa Mungu (The Children of God). He also spent some time as the Director of the Lay Apostolate for the Diocese of Eldoret.
At the 1972 Chapter Liam was elected a member of the Superior General’s Council. On the completion of his term he returned to Kenya and shortly afterwards he was appointed the Regional Superior for East Africa, a post he held until 1984. He was then appointed the Director of Promotion for Ireland which meant a return to Kiltegan. On completing a six year term in this post he returned once more to Kenya in 1992 and was based in the Diocese of Eldoret for the next twenty years. He lived in Kaptagat with the late Fr Ray MacNicholas and ministered in Iten before going to live at the Society house in Kapsoya, Eldoret town, where he served first with Fr Ray Murtagh and then Fr Oliver Barry. As well as ministering to the people of Kapsoya, he also helped in the Bishop’s office and was a very valued confidante of Bishop Cornelius Kipng’eno arap Korir. In 2012 he returned to Ireland because of failing health.
Liam’s last years were spent in Kiltegan. Liam bore his limitations with fortitude and courage. He was a man of very deep faith who served the Society with great generosity throughout his life. Availability was one of the hallmarks of his missionary life. He was open to radical changes several times during his life, uprooting himself from places where he was flourishing in order to serve a greater need elsewhere. Liam had a life-long love of the Irish language and culture. He learned his Irish mainly from his father who was a native Irish speaker from Ring, Co Waterford. He also loved hurling and was a regular on the Holycross senior hurling team during the 1950s. From his student days the Irish word uasal (noble, gentleman) was closely associated with Liam. He was known by his contemporaries as “Liam Uasal”. It was a very fitting title indeed. He never said a bad word about anyone. He was kind, courteous, refined and uasal. Liam died peacefully in the Care Unit in Kiltegan on Sunday, the 13th of August.
Fr Sean Dillon
Fr Sean Dillon, the eldest son of Thomas and Jennie (née O’Connor) Dillon was born in Janemount, Lisselton, Listowel, Co Kerry in the parish of Ballybunion on the 13th of April, 1926. He attended Coolard National School and then completed his secondary education in St Michael’s, Listowel and St Brendan’s, Killarney. He distinguished himself on the football field at inter-college level and while he was a seminarian he won an All Ireland junior medal with Kerry. He came to Kiltegan in 1944, one of twenty-five students who spent nine months in nearby Humewood Castle following the Spiritual Year Programme. He did philosophy and theology studies in St Patrick’s, Kiltegan, and was ordained in Killamoat on the 25th of March, 1951 by Bishop John Heffernan CSSp, the Emeritus Vicar Apostolic of Zanzibar.
Sean was appointed to Ogoja in Nigeria and did two tours there. His first appointment was to Wanokom where he ministered with his classmate, the late Terence Beagon. Because he was very adaptable he was moved to three other missions for short periods during that first tour.
In his second tour, he worked in Izzi in present-day Abakaliki Diocese. He was then appointed to promotion work and spent 1956-57 visiting parishes and schools in Ireland. After this he was sent to join the promotion team in the USA and was a very successful fundraiser there and in England until 1972.
In 1972 he retired from the priesthood and married Lyla Murray. They lived in England until 1985 when they moved to Bray, Co Wicklow. After Lyla’s death in 1996, Sean decided to seek readmission into the Society and made the first move in 1998 when he came to see Fr Kieran Birmingham, the then Superior General. The matter was referred to Rome and Sean was readmitted to the Society on St Patrick’s Day, 2003 after a year of supervised prayer and reflection.
Sean returned to fundraising in the summer of 2004, helping with the promotion programme in England. Although now in his late seventies he was undaunted by the long car journeys involved. On his return to Ireland he divided his time between Kiltegan and Listowel where he looked after his brother, Thomas. When Thomas died, Sean moved permanently to Kiltegan where he became fully involved in the life of the community and did a lot of work in the used stamps department.
Sean enjoyed good health until the summer of 2012. From then onwards, his mobility became progressively limited and he moved to the Care Unit in early 2013 and died peacefully there on the 24th of October, 2013.
Fr Daniel Dolan
Daniel Dolan was born on January 1st, 1921, the youngest child of James and Margaret (née Mullaghy) Dolan of Pulbawne, Hollymount, Co Mayo. He attended Gortskehy National School from 1926 to 1931 and received the last three years of his primary education at Ballinrobe CBS, travelling to school and back by bicycle and train. For his secondary education he was a boarder at St Jarlath’s College, Tuam from 1934 to 1939. He then studied Philosophy in All Hallows College, Dublin and in June 1941 applied for admission to St Patrick’s Missionary Society. He commenced the Spiritual Year with 26 companions the following September. He studied theology in Kiltegan from 1942 to 1946 and was ordained to the priesthood on December 18th, 1945 by Bishop Thomas Keogh of Kildare and Leighlin Diocese in Carlow Cathedral.
After ordination Dan was appointed to the Prefecture of Calabar where he would spend most of the following sixty-six years. The first forty-four were spent in what is now Uyo Diocese. He ministered at Anua, Ndon Ebom, Ibiono and Use Abat. He spent a short while on promotion work in Ireland in 1951 and was instrumental in recruiting Fathers Jim Sharkey and Frank McNabb and other members of the 1952/53 Spiritual Year Class for the Society. He also spent a year (1976) at a Society Prayer House in Port Harcourt. As Dan was Vicar General of the Diocese of Calabar and a confidante of Bishop Brian D Usanga, he was transferred to Calabar town when Uyo became an independent Diocese. He was appointed Father-in-Charge at St Patrick’s Parish, Ikot Ansa, and continued to be the Vicar General. Dan spent the next twenty-two years in that parish. In early 2012 he returned to Kiltegan because of declining heath.
Dan was an extraordinarily zealous pastor who loved his people and served them with all his heart. While he was personally of the strict observance he showed great compassion to sinners and to those who had lost their way in life. He was very Christ-like in the way he reached out to the members of his flock. He impressed everyone by his dedication to prayer and to the spiritual life and was revered by all who knew him. He gave particular attention to the sick and housebound especially in his later years.
Dan would have liked to end his days among his beloved people of Calabar but this was not to be. He adapted quickly to his new life in Kiltegan and entered wholeheartedly into all the community activities. He celebrated the 70th anniversary of his ordination, slightly before time, last Easter Sunday surrounded by members of his family. He enjoyed reasonable health until last May when he was hospitalised. He made a good recovery and was able to enjoy the Jubilee celebrations in Kiltegan in July. At the time of his death, on November 9th Fr Dan was the oldest priest ever in the Society and the longest ordained.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Joseph Dollard
Joe – baptized Joseph Peter – was born in Longford on the 14th of May, 1921. Following his primary education locally, he pursued his secondary studies in St. Mel’s College, Longford from 1934 to 1939, the year he entered Kiltegan. He was ordained in December, 1945 and went to Nigeria in August, 1946, having been appointed to the then Vicariate of Calabar. His initial appointment was Bishop’s Secretary in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Calabar and he also supervised St. Therese’s printing press. Afterwards he transferred to St. Therese’s parish Ibiono and later ministered in the parish of Urua Akpan, in the newly created Diocese of Ikot Ekpene.
The duration of the Biafran war saw him at home in Ireland for the period 1967 to 1970. In the latter year, Joe went to Grenada where he ministered until 1990, when ill-health forced his return to Ireland. In that year, he entered Our Lady’s Manor Nursing home in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford where he died on the 11th of April, 1993.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Christy Donlon
Christy was born at the Old Head Lighthouse, Kinsale, Cork on the 31st of May, 1907 to John Joseph and Nora Donlon. After the usual stint of Primary and Secondary education, he embarked on the rather unusual careers of lighthouse keeper, motor mechanic and intermittently taxi-driver.
Then in 1932, he went to Mount Melleray and studied there until 1936. In September of that year, he joined Kiltegan and was ordained priest in December, 1940. In 1942, he was appointed to the then Prefecture of Ogoja and served there during the years 1942-52 – in the missions of Obudu, Ogoja and Afikpo. In 1952, he was appointed Bursar in Kiltegan and served in that capacity until 1955.
In 1955, he returned to Ogoja, as Vicar General and served there until 1966. In 1966, ill-health forced him to return to Ireland and he served in the Dioceses of Dromore (in Newry), Galway (in Oranmore) and Elphin, in the parish of Kilmore where he died on the 28th of May, 1980.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Paddy Donnelly
Paddy was born on the 3rd of January, 1933 in Tullykevan, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone. He received his early education from 1937 to 1946 at Blackwaterstown Primary School, Co. Armagh and proceeded to St. Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon, for his secondary course from 1946 to 1951. He then went on to third level education in the then St. Joseph’s Training College, Belfast, graduating as a teacher in 1955. After graduating he taught in Blackwaterstown Primary School from 1955 to 1959, when he began his Spiritual Year in Kiltegan.
Having completed the usual studies he was ordained in 1966. Towards the end of that year he went to Kenya where he was appointed to the Diocese of Kitui, which was then in the early stages of its development and Paddy found himself in the newly established Minor Seminary in Mwingi. He spent a year there and then moved to another establishment in its infancy, Mutune Teachers’ Training College. After spending two years there, he went to the GABA Pastoral Institute in Kampala, Uganda. On his return to the Diocese in 1970, he held a number of appointments in the ensuing years: supervisor of Catechetics at Primary level, a return to St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary as Rector, Diocesan Medical Secretary, Director of the Pastoral Centre in Kitui and Vicar General to the newly appointed bishop, Boniface Lele. In 1996, he left the Diocese and came to Nairobi as Society Vice-Regional.
On completion of his term of office, he went to Katilu Catechetical Centre in Lodwar Diocese in January 2003. He came home on leave in June that year, but took ill and died unexpectedly on the 29th of July, 2003.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Pat Dorr
Pat was born in Mantua, Co. Roscommon on the 6th of November, 1919. Following his primary education at the local National School, he obtained his secondary education at Summerhill College, Sligo from 1932 to 1937. In that year, be began his philosophy course in Mount Melleray and completed it in 1940, when he entered Kiltegan. He was ordained in December, 1944 and in 1945 went to Nigeria. Appointed to the then Prefecture of Ogoja, he ministered in Afikpo, Ishiagu, Abalakiki, Nkalagu and Obudu.
However, in 1964 ill-health forced his return to Ireland. Back home, he alternated between Chaplaincy to the Patrician Brothers Tullow and office work in Kiltegan. This entailed his commuting for the daily journey of 24 miles. He was a very intense and expert bee-keeper. Pat died suddenly at his office desk on the 18th of November, 1985.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr William Dowling
William (Bill) Dowling was born on the 24th of March, 1925, to William and Mary (née Brannigan) Dowling of Kilmogar House, Kilderry, Co Kilkenny, the seventh of their eleven children. He attended Clara National School from 1930 to 1937 and St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny from 1937-1942. He came to Kiltegan in September, 1942, and did the Spiritual Year in Humewood and the remainder of his studies in St Patrick’s College, Kiltegan. He was ordained in Killamoat Church by Bishop J W Heffernan CSSp on the 17th of April, 1949.
Bill went to Calabar,Nigeria and was appointed to Holy Family College, Abak where he worked until 1953 when he contracted blackwater fever, and nearly died from it. On recovering, he was sent home to Ireland and appointed to St Patrick’s Douglas to study for a B.A. in University College Cork. A year later he took over from Joe Kelly as Superior of the house. Having secured his degree and gained a Higher Diploma in Education, he returned to Nigeria in 1957 and was the first principal of Regina Coeli College, Essene which became a distinguished secondary school. After about ten years there he became parish priest of Essene and later of Ndon Ibom.
Bill was sent to Grenada in 1972 and became the first headmaster of St David’s Secondary School, the first Catholic secondary school in Grenada. Although he was very happy in Grenada he was asked to return to Nigeria in 1978. He went to Abakaliki Diocese and worked in Afikpo Parish until 1983 when he became Rector of St Augustine’s Junior Seminary in Ezzamgbo. Among his students was Fr Patrick Aleke who was ordained for the Society in 2008. In 1994, Bill was transferred to Lagos where he worked in St Charles Parish, Olodi before moving to St Joseph’s, Kirikiri where he spent five years. He was then transferred to Port Harcourt where he engaged in retreat work and spiritual direction. He had also done such work in Lagos believing that parishioners ought to be introduced to a deeper experience of the faith than was normally offered.
On his return to Kiltegan in 2002, Bill was sent to Buchlyvie, Scotland to explore the possibility of offering a retreat programme there. In December 2003, he responded to an invitation from Bishop Maurice Crowley to go to Kitale Diocese in Kenya. He later moved to Nakuru Diocese to replace Brian Cunningham as Chaplain to the Little Sisters of St Francis in Bahati until a permanent chaplain was found. Later, he moved to St Therese’s Prayer House in Lanet and remained there until May 2014 when ill health forced him to return to Ireland.
Bill was a most versatile missionary. He worked in four of the five regions of the Society. He was a dedicated and practical man who responded to needs as they arose. He was open minded, and compassionate and enjoyed the respect and admiration of his family and Society colleagues.
Bill died peacefully on the 30th of September in the Nursing Unit in Kiltegan having returned from Naas Hospital only a few hours previously.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Liam Doyle
Father Liam Doyle died peacefully in Naas Hospital on June 2, 2009. He was among the most senior members of St Patrick’s Missionary Society having entered in 1943, within eleven years of the Society’s foundation. A native of Edenderry, Co Offaly, Ireland, he received his secondary education in St Mary’s College, Knockbeg, Co Carlow and his training for the missionary priesthood in Kiltegan. He was ordained in Killamoat church on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1950 by the retired Vicar Apostolic of Zanzibar, Bishop John W Heffernan CSSp.
Because he was a gifted student, Liam was chosen to do post-graduate studies in Louvain, Belgium. He was required to do a one-year bachelor’s degree in preparation and this was as far as he got. The Society had been asked by the Holy See to take over a large portion of “the white highlands” of Kenya which was up to then the responsibility of the Mill Hill Fathers. Liam was withdrawn from Louvain to join the pioneering team of five Kiltegan priests that arrived in Kenya in January, 1952. He was stationed in the picturesque colonial town of Kitale to assist the Mill Hill priest who would remain on for some months. Later, he taught in the recently-established St Joseph’s Teacher Training College and, afterwards, served as Father-in-charge of Kiminini.
In 1955, Liam was withdrawn from Kenya to take charge of the Society’s house in Douglas, Cork which had just been extended to accommodate philosophy students, alongside the university students who were already residing there. Liam was a distinguished Rector and teacher of Philosophy. His was a benign and encouraging presence. He expected the students to behave responsibly and trusted them to do so. He did all in his power to expand their horizons inviting those interested to share in his hobbies of photography, gardening and music. He arranged for them to attend cultural events such as the occasional classical concert in the City Hall. Apart from the embarrassment of occasionally seeing one of his charges striding up the concert hall with bicycle clips in place and the pump protruding from a pocket this was largely a successful venture.
After seven years in Cork, Liam was elected as delegate to the 1962 Chapter which introduced the office of Regional Superior to the Society. Liam was chosen to be the first Regional Superior of East Africa. It turned out to be a challenging task. A crisis of authority was coming to a head in Eldoret Diocese and it fell to Liam to deal with the fallout at local level and to brief the Society headquarters in Ireland on the situation. He acquitted himself well always remaining calm but firm and painstakingly seeking the truth at all times.
In 1970, Liam went back into parish ministry serving in the tea and sugar producing area of Nandi Hills. In 1981, he was appointed to promotion work in the USA and served, for a time, as Society Superior. After major heart surgery he returned to Ireland in 1990 and ministered as a curate in Clara parish in his native county of Offaly for 10 years. In 2000, he was appointed to the Society Promotion House in East Molesey, England, where he became known for the warm welcome he extended to all-comers. While there, he got an opportunity to renew friendships with Goan and Seychellois people whom he had been close to in Kenya and who had moved to the UK in the meantime. In 2004, he retired first to the Society house in Cork and then to Kiltegan. In spite of failing health, he kept a lively interest in everyone and everything; he attended to his lifelong hobbies and developed new ones; he was kind and pleasant to all and looked back on his long life with great peace and gratitude to God.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Paddy Doyle
Paddy was born in Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny, in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin on the 6th of August, 1916. He received his primary education in part at the Ursuline Convent National School, Waterford, (1920 to 1922) and the remainder of this stage at Mount Sion (1922 to 1932), also in Waterford. There he began his secondary studies and completed these at Waterpark College, finishing in 1934. In that year he entered Kiltegan. On completion of his spiritual year, he studied philosophy in St. Patrick’s College, Carlow from 1935 to 1937 – after which he returned to Kiltegan to complete his theology studies. He was ordained in December, 1940 and due to wartime sailing restrictions, he did not reach Nigeria until 1942.
From 1942 to 1968, Paddy ministered in the Dioceses of Calabar and Ikot Ekpene. Ill health forced him to return from the missions in 1968 and after a short stint in Edinburgh, he spent ten years in the Diocese of Elphin and afterwards he served in Waterford and Lismore. In 1983, Paddy re-located as Chaplain in the Holy Child Convent, Hastings, England. A further deterioration in health caused him to return to Ireland and he died in Milford House Hospice, Castletroy, Limerick on the 20th of May 1984.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Bishop William (Bill) Dunne
Bill was born on the 7th of June, 1920 at Killadoran, Delvin, Co. Westmeath. He attended Ballinavalley N.S. from 1926 to 1933 after which he went to St. Finian’s College, Mullingar. He entered Kiltegan for his Spiritual Year in 1938, when the Society was still in its tender years. Ordained in December, 1944, he studied in Maynooth for an S.T.L. and having obtained this degree he returned to Kiltegan to teach Theology; he also edited our Society’s magazine, Africa. Up to 1951 the Society’s mission was confined to Nigeria but in that year, a new mission was opened, Eldoret in Kenya. In December of that year, Bill led a group of our pioneer priests to the new territory. As in Nigeria, education was a priority in this territory and Bill was schools supervisor, a position he held until May, 1956 when he returned to Ireland as a delegate to the Chapter of that year.
In December of that year, another new territory was entrusted to our Society. This was Kitui and Bill was named first Prefect Apostolic. He returned to Kenya in January, 1957 to take up this position. In November, 1963 Kitui was elevated to the status of a Diocese and Bill became the first bishop and was consecrated in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar on the 9th of February, 1964; and formally installed in his Diocese on the 26th of April of that year. At that time there were few Church structures in place and as pastor and bishop, Bill soon set about remedying that deficiency. As usual, one of his priorities was education and soon a Teacher’s College was up and running, to be followed by secondary schools for boys and girls, a Junior Seminary and a polytechnic. He also helped to open a hospital. It was a period of phenomenal growth where the Church was concerned. This is evidenced by the fact that when Bill retired as Bishop, the original four parishes had grown to nineteen and he had ordained 26 priests in the Diocese. He handed over to Bishop Boniface Lele in February, 1996. He retired to Kiamaina mission near Nakuru.
In March, 2002 he expressed a wish to visit Kitui once again and he did so, although feeling unwell. His health deteriorated and he was taken to Nairobi hospital during Holy Week and he died peacefully there on Easter Sunday, the 31st of March, 2002. He is buried beside the Cathedral in Kitui.
Place of Rest: Kitui, Kenya
Fr Martin Dwan
Fr Martin Anthony Dwan was born on the 19th of April 1931 in Newtown House, Holycross, Co Tipperary to William J and Brighid (nee Hanly) Dwan. He had six brothers and six sisters. He attended Holycross Primary School from 1937 to 1940 and Thurles CBS from 1940 to 1943. He continued at Thurles CBS for one year of secondary schooling before going to Mount St Joseph’s, Roscrea from 1944 to 1949. He came to St Patrick’s, Kiltegan in September 1949 where he completed the Spiritual Year in June 1950. After a year of studies in philosophy at St Patrick’s, Kiltegan Martin was sent to UCC to study for a BA.
He returned to Kiltegan in September 1954 and pursued the usual four year course in theology. He was ordained with his eight class mates at Killamoat on the 6th of April (Easter Sunday), 1958 by Bishop James Moynagh of Calabar.
Martin was appointed to the Diocese of Ogoja in Nigeria. He worked in Wanokom with Fr Terry Beagon before transferring to Izzi County Secondary School. He also taught at Ugep and at Umuezeoka Secondary School and was later appointed Principal of St Thomas’ Teacher Training College, Ogoja.
While there he contracted a rare disease which cut short his time on the missions and had an adverse effect on his general health. He was forced home in 1964 and underwent treatment in the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases in St Pancras. When he recovered he was appointed to St Patrick’s College, Buchlyvie, Scotland which opened in 1965. He was the first headmaster of the school and remained in the post until 1981.
After finishing in Buchlyvie he was sent to the USA to work in St Carthage’s Parish in Chicago, which was staffed by the Society at that time. He then transferred to Grenada in the West Indies in 1988 where he worked in Victoria Parish until 1995. After this he was appointed to promotion work in England and was based in Datchet until 1999. In 2000 Martin returned home to Thurles and lived in a house left to him by his mother. He helped out as Chaplain in the Hospital of the Assumption, Thurles.
Martin will be remembered for his contribution to the education of over 60 priests during his many years as principal of St Patrick’s, Buchlyvie. He was an excellent teacher and encouraged his students to develop their potential. He was a far-seeing and innovative principal. He was gifted with a beautiful tenor voice and was generous in sharing his many talents. He had a great love of all things Irish including language, song and dance. He loved Irish dancing and was particularly associated with the dances organised to support the Society in Chicago.
He developed pneumonia about three weeks before he died and was admitted to Nenagh Hospital and later to the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick where he died peacefully on Good Friday, the 18th of April, on the eve of his 83rd birthday.